Hunter Community Drug Action Teams
|About this Item||Subjects||Drugs: Illegal; Drug Abuse
||Speakers||Gaudry Mr Bryce
||Business||Private Members Statements
Mr GAUDRY (Newcastle—Parliamentary Secretary) [5.56 p.m.]: On Monday of this week I had the pleasure of opening, on behalf of the Special Minister of State and the Premier, the Drug Information at Your Local Library project at Newcastle City Library. The project is a tremendous facility for education not only of young people but also of families about the dangers of drug use and positive approaches to deal with drugs. I know my colleague the honourable member for Charlestown opened a similar project at the Charlestown library. Thanks to the Premier's Department and the State Library these projects are now at 70 libraries across the State. They are important because they give people information when they are ready to use it. That is one of the things we are keen to have. Drug education is important in schools, but the delivery of it may not coincide with the times that young people want that information. If it is available in our libraries and on the web site that libraries provide, it is an important service.
That day I also had the pleasure of attending, speaking at and officially launching the community drug action team awards for the Hunter and Central Coast. That function was held at the Panthers Club Nova, Newcastle. The master of ceremonies was Craig Hamilton, our renowned sports commentator and presenter, who obviously had a great interest in the awards. We heard a presentation from Dr Bob Batey, the director of drug and alcohol services at Hunter Health. He outlined for us the positive government programs in our health service dealing with diagnosis and treatment for a range of drug disorders, as well as positive community programs that are run across the Hunter region. I had the pleasure, along with the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, John Tate, and the Mayor of Lake Macquarie, John Kilpatrick, of presenting awards to an individual, a group and a young person, all of whom have been important in drug education and positive drug programs in the community.
Paul Murphy, a businessman in Newcastle, was recognised for his work as an individual assisting people, particularly young people, and raising funds to improve drug awareness in the community. Paul was a worthy recipient of that award. The Samaritans were awarded the group award for their tremendous range of programs. Basically, the whole social justice area is serviced by the Samaritans of the Anglican Church. John Kilpatrick, when presenting the award to Cec Shevels, the Director of the Samaritans, said that the Samaritans have been delivering services across Newcastle and the Hunter for 20 years. Cec Shevels has been the driving force behind the Samaritans, and he and his large work force have delivered these services for the benefit of the community.
I would particularly like to mention the award that was presented to Erin Stegeman, a 21-year-old woman who benefited greatly from her contact with both the Salvation Army and the Samaritans. She paid tribute to those groups on receiving her award. Erin is an outstanding young woman who came to Newcastle from Canberra to find a drug-free environment. She took up education at the Alesco Learning Centre, which is run by the Workers Educational Association [WEA] to give young people the opportunity to return to a learning environment and undertake their school certificate. Not only did she obtain her school certificate, she has gone on to further education to become a nursing aid. Erin paid tribute to the support she received to break free from the drug cycle, to involve herself in education and to move towards a worthwhile career. She wants to devote her energies to assisting other young people who have drug problems. The launch of the community drug action teams in the Hunter was a tremendous day.